Entries in SOPA (6)


CISPA: Cybersecurity Bill May Pit Online Safety Against Privacy

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While all the focus was on SOPA and PIPA, the so-called Internet piracy bills in Congress, there's a new piece of technology-related legislation that may prove to be just as controversial. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, passed the U.S. House of Representatives late Thursday, and now heads to the Senate.

If enacted, it would increase the information that is shared between the government and technology companies, giving each protection to share confidential information with one another in the interest of warding off cyberthreats.

Previously, this hasn't been the case -- government information was classified and companies feared violating antitrust laws.

With the passage of CISPA, however, the government could share that information with private companies to help them protect their networks. And --this angers privacy advocates -- companies could share information about its users and its networks with the government.

The bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 248 to 168, with a Republican majority.

Proponents of the bill, such as Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., who introduced it, said the sharing of information would allow the government and the proper agencies to address cyberthreats quickly.

But opponents, including President Obama, say they are worried about consumer privacy and the scope of sharing between the government and independent technology companies.

Obama has threatened to veto the bill. "The administration strongly opposes H.R. 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, in its current form," Obama's Office of Management and Budget said in a statement earlier this week. "If H.R. 3523 were presented to the president, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill."

Jared Polis, D-Colo., has been particularly outspoken on the measure. "If this bill is enacted, there is nothing to stop companies from sharing their customers' private information with every branch of the government, including the military. Allowing the military to spy on American citizens, on American soil, goes against every principle this nation stands for," Polis said in a statement.

An anti-CISPA petition on already has more than 773,000 signatures.

That said, many technology companies, such as Microsoft, AT&T and Facebook, which opposed SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, and PIPA, the Protect IP Act, support CISPA. Unlike the SOPA and PIPA controversies, no major websites have threatened or planned to go dark. Or at least they haven't yet. But a lot may yet happen as the bill heads to the Senate.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Websites Back to Normal After 'Censorship' Protest; What's Next?

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- After protesting two online censorship bills by shutting its website down, Wikipedia‘s English-language page came back to normal on Thursday, and Google removed the black censor bar from across its brightly colored logo.

Many supporters of Wednesday’s online protest against SOPA and PIPA -- the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House and the Protect IP Act in the Senate -- say it was effective. Moreover, at least a dozen senators who supported the bill, according to various head counts, have now publicly backed off.

“We can find a solution that will protect lawful content. But this bill is flawed & that’s why I’m withdrawing my support,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a former PIPA co-sponsor, on Twitter Wednesday.

“Protecting IP is important, but we need to carefully tailor the solution,” tweeted Sen. Jeff Merkley, an Oregon Democrat. “#PIPA and #SOPA don’t cut it.”

The White House said that as of late Wednesday, 104,000 people had signed “We the People petitions asking the Obama Administration to protect an open and innovative internet.”

Jimmy Wales, the head of Wikipedia, said 162 million people clicked on his site’s message opposing the bills.

“Now 35 Senators publicly opposing #PIPA, up from 5 last week! 41 no votes and we win,” Wales tweeted Thursday.

So are the bills dead?  In their existing forms they were already in trouble.  The House version had been put on hold by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) even before Wednesday’s protest.  And in the Senate, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), an original co-sponsor, had last week promised amendments to address the concerns of website managers.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of the most public advocates of the two anti-piracy bills, said it sent a letter to members of Congress, standing by its original position but noting that the bills were being reworked.

“[T]he Chamber urges the full Senate to fully debate and pass this important measure,” said the Chamber. “Recent announcements by sponsors of the legislation have made clear that important issues of internet operation, security, and freedom will be addressed by a manager’s amendment, which will modify provisions of S. 968 dealing with blocking of rogue sites. The amended legislation is a more narrowly tailored approach designed to target the worst offenders.”

Michael Gartenberg of Gartner technology consultants said in a phone interview with ABC News that Wednesday’s protest alone may not have tipped the balance, but, “it raised awareness of an important issue.

“This isn’t a matter of right versus wrong, left versus right, good versus evil,” he said. “It’s a complex issue with a lot of nuance.  But it took it out of the arena of politicians and technologists and brought it to the public’s attention.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Wikipedia, Other Sites Shut Down to Protest 'Censorship' Legislation

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The English-language version of Wikipedia went dark Wednesday, along with hundreds of other sites including Reddit and Boing Boing, to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) proposed by congressional lawmakers and supported by Hollywood to block the sale of counterfeit goods by websites outside the U.S.

Wikipedia, as well as search engine site Google and social networking site Facebook, argue that the legislation encourages censorship and will alter the structure of the Internet. Google was operating, though its iconic logo was shown as blacked out Wednesday, as if it had been redacted.

The co-founder of the online encyclopedia giant, Jimmy Wales, defended the decision to close down Wikipedia for 24 hours, charging that SOPA and PIPA, "endanger free speech both in the United States and abroad, and set a frightening precedent of Internet censorship for the world."

The White House is also opposed to the anti-piracy measures before Congress.

Texas Republican Congressman Lamar Smith, who sponsored SOPA in the House, chastised Wikipedia for what he says amounts to a publicity stunt, adding, "it is ironic that a website dedicated to providing information is spreading misinformation about the Stop Online Piracy Act."

According to Smith, Wikipedia, social networking sites and domestic blogs won't be affected by his legislation.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Wikipedia Blackout: Websites Going Dark to Protest SOPA, PIPA

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Online encyclopedia giant Wikipedia will go dark for the day on Wednesday, joining a budding movement to protest two bills in Congress -- SOPA and PIPA -- meant to stop the illegal copying and sharing of movies and music on the Internet.

"This is going to be 'wow,'" Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said on Twitter. "I hope Wikipedia will melt phone systems in Washington on Wednesday. Tell everyone you know!"

Other sites, such as Reddit and Boing Boing, have already said they would also go dark on Wednesday.  And some of the biggest names online, including Google, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, have vocally opposed the proposed legislation.

PIPA, the Protect IP Act in the Senate, and SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, have been presented as a way to protect movie studios, record labels and others.  Supporters range from the Country Music Association to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

But the Internet giants say the bills could require your Internet provider to block websites that are involved in digital file sharing.  And search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing could be stopped from linking to them -- antithetical, they say, to the ideal of an open Internet.

"If you want an Internet where human rights, free speech and the rule of law are not subordinated to the entertainment industry's profits, I hope you'll join us," said Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing.

Wikipedia, the sixth most visited site in the world, said its English version will be dark for 24 hours Wednesday, urging users to contact Congress.  Other joiners of the movement include Mozilla, which offers the Firefox Web browser; the Wordpress blogging site; and TwitPic, which allows Twitter users to post images online.

The House bill is on hold for now, and there are rumblings that both bills may be toned down because of the vocal opposition.  The White House over the weekend said it had reservations about the approach the two bills take.

"While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet," wrote three White House managers, including Aneesh Chopra, the U.S. Chief Technology Officer.  "Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Reddit Targets Alleged SOPA Supporters

John Foxx/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan denied co-sponsoring the Stop Online Piracy Act in a statement Thursday but his stand may have come too late, as the wrath of the internet has come pounding on his front door.

Introduced this fall, SOPA's supporters claim the measure will protect copyrighted media from being shared online; however, its detractors say it's a way to allow governments and copyrights holders to censor the Internet and shut down sites.

The Wisconsin representative is now dealing with the hive mind of, the same group that successfully pressured GoDaddy into withdrawing its SOPA support this week. Redditors have found a new strategy in their fight against the controversial act: narrowing down SOPA supporters who have seats up for grabs in this year's election cycle and funding their opponents.

Suggestions quickly rose up the Reddit ranks to remove from office Senators Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., but of the many potential targets who were discussed and debated on the site, eventually Reddit landed on Paul Ryan, R-Wis. In addition to being up for reelection this fall in Wisconsin, Ryan had previously released an unclear statement regarding his stance on SOPA that had the internet pegging him as a supporter.

Once word of Reddit's plan to remove Ryan from Congress started to spread, his challenger Rob Zerban was savvy enough to embrace the community right away, participating in an "Ask Me Anything" interview with the site's users and quickly denouncing both GoDaddy and SOPA , saying the act "would devastate the free nature of the internet by allowing unilateral closing down of popular websites." After less than 36 hours, "Operation Pull Ryan" was born and over $7,500 has been donated to Zerban's campaign.

Ryan's camp was quick to respond to the negative buzz, denying any support of the act, offering a press release stating, "Contrary to false reports, Congressman Paul Ryan is not a cosponsor of H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act. He remains committed to advancing policies that protect free speech and foster innovation online and will continue to follow the House Judiciary Committee's deliberations on this issue carefully."

While Ryan's stance on SOPA is not set in stone, his opponent's firm statements against the act have been enough to captapult him to the top of Reddit's infamous front page for the last three days.

The impact of this campaign remains to be seen and it will be interesting to watch what happens with Ryan and Zerban as we near November's elections. Earlier this month, comedian Louis C.K. appealed to Reddit directly and saw over $1 million in revenue pour in for his online-only comedy special. If Reddit's campaign fundraising can come anywhere close to the bounty Louis C.K. took in a few weeks ago, there could be some serious cash in Rob Zerban's pockets before 2011 is up.

What's more, if an internet-wide rally to unseat one congressman works, it could send a huge message about the power of the internet community and its ability to change politics.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


SOPA: Internet Piracy Bill Criticized as Internet Censorship

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- SOPA — the Stop Internet Piracy Act — has been presented in the House of Representatives as a way to protect movie studios, record labels and others whose music and films are taken and copied online. There was a hearing on it Wednesday. Its Senate counterpart is called the Protect IP Act.

But others are calling them flawed bills that would lead to Internet censorship.

Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, said the bills would overdo it — giving copyright holders and government the power to cut off websites unreasonably. They could be shut down, and search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo could be stopped from linking to them.

“The solutions are draconian,” Schmidt said Tuesday at the MIT Sloan School of Management. “There’s a bill that would require ISPs [Internet service providers] to remove URLs from the Web, which is also known as censorship last time I checked.”

That said, Schmidt granted that Hollywood studios have a real problem — people are pirating their movies and threatening their business. The Motion Picture Association of America has posted promos on YouTube to plead its case.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who chairs the House Judiciary Committee and sponsored SOPA, has said his bill will help “stop the flow of revenue to rogue websites and ensures that the profits from American innovations go to American innovators.”

Now Tumblr, the microblogging website, has joined the opposition to the bills with a page called “Protect the Net.”

“As written, they would betray more than a decade of US policy and advocacy of Internet freedom,” said a statement on Tumblr, “by establishing a censorship system using the same domain blacklisting technologies pioneered by China and Iran.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio